What to pack for your Canadian Working Holiday

Updated: 2023.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably in one of these situations: you either got your work permit and are ready to come to work and travel in Canada, or you’re still in your country’s working holiday pool for International Experience Canada (IEC), OR you’re simply considering a working holiday.

No matter who you are, we did some research and also looked at our own program participants’ experiences. From that, we compiled a working holiday packing list of what to pack before you embark on your working holiday in Canada.

Remember: the key is to try to pack only what you really need because anything else can usually be found and bought once you arrive. Print off this page and cross things off as you get ready for your working holiday in Canada!

You're almost there! Remember: what you don't have, you can buy when you arrive in Canada.

The Essentials

  • Some cash converted to Canadian currency (around $200 CAD). You can also bring currency from your home country and convert it in Canada as the rates are generally better. For those on a working holiday in the Vancouver area, you can use services such as VBCE
  • Debit/credit cards from your home country in case of emergency (check with your bank to see if you are able to use your card overseas, and how much the service will be as well)
  • Medication that you are currently taking, and a copy of your prescription or a doctor’s note
  • Plane ticket and hotel or hostel booking information, printed in case you run out of battery

Identification and Important Documents

Upon arrival in Canada, you will need to show the following items to the Boarder Services Officer in order to collect your Canadian work permit:

  • Passport
  • Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction or Working Holiday Approval Letter
  • Proof of funds (at least $2,500 CAD)
  • Proof of health insurance for your complete stay in Canada, we recommend you use this insurance provider.
  • A ticket for your departure from Canada or proof showing sufficient funds to purchase one
  • Job offer (only for International Co-op or Young Professional)
  • Your hotel or hostel’s contact information, and directions from the airport to your accommodation


Canada has very distinct and different seasons (summers are warm, and winters can be cold):

  • Interview/smart clothes (business casual items in various solid, neutral shades), as well as everyday, casual clothes
  • Summertime: Lighter clothing such as t-shirts, button-downs, polos, board shorts, light jeans or shorts
  • Winter time: Heavier clothing such as wool-based sweaters, cardigans, coats, heavy jeans, hats, scarves and gloves
  • A few pairs of shoes: a pair of formal shoes, and two pairs of casual shoes
  • Pyjamas
  • Undergarments and socks
  • Raincoat


  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash
  • Bar of soap/facial cleanser
  • Body lotion/facial moisturizer
  • Lip balm (an essential for the plane!)
  • Makeup/makeup remover
  • Contact lens solution/kit (if you wear contacts)
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen, even in the wintertime
  • Razors, nail clippers, tweezers, hairbrush, and any other daily care tools you use
  • Small first aid kit including band-aids and common medications for pain, cold and flu, upset stomach, and whatever else you think you may need!

Electronics and Other Small Things

  • Smartphone and/or laptop (to check emails, manage your banking, check for updates from your job, stay connected with friends and family and so on)
  • Travel plug adapter! (VERY important: please note that Canadian voltage is 120v and the outlet’s support “Type B” North American NEMA 5-15 standard)
  • Compact/micro-umbrella
  • Pens and a notebook
  • Backpack or carryon bag, in addition to luggage
  • Pictures of family and friends, because we know that you will be missing them dearly!
Planning on moving to Canada during the winter season? Warm clothes are essential, even for just getting off the plane! It's called the Great White North for a reason.

Items Applicable To Working Holiday Ski Resort

The list up until here is a general list more suited for those participating in our Vancouver Working Holiday program. If you are planning on coming to Canada via our Working Holiday Ski Resort program, then there are other things to take into consideration when packing (especially for the cold weather, assuming you are coming during the winter, and of course any ski or snowboard-related gear that you might want to bring). In addition to what is already mentioned above, you’ll also want to bring:

  • Heavy sweaters (wool based)
  • Hoodies/long sleeve shirts
  • Ski goggles
  • Ski/snow boots
  • Toque (Canadian for snow hat) and a ski helmet
  • Thermal underwear
  • Waterproof ski pants and a ski jacket
  • Waterproof ski gloves/mittens
  • High SPF sunscreen
  • Ski equipment (bring or buy in Canada, we suggest buying or renting in Canada)

Reminder: When on the mountains, make sure to wear 3 layers on top and 2 layers on the bottom!

Want to learn more?

Are you interested in planning a working holiday in Canada? Book a free consultation with our team to learn more about our programs and start planning the adventure of a lifetime!

Photo Credits Janelle Timms